The Decemberists! Are Going to Save! Rock n' Roll!

by Rob Tannenbaum

Last week, The Decemberists announced the release of a double live album, We All Raise Our Voices to the Air, on March 13. On that date, the Portland band, almost caricature-ishly known for their erudite topics and lyrics (Google results for “Decemberists” + “hyper-literate” = 49,800), will join KISS, The Allman Brothers, Peter Frampton, The Grateful Dead, Kraftwerk and Sting in the pantheon of artists who have documented their stage performances. The live album has fallen into mostly-deserved ill repute (Google results for “live album” + “hoary” = 16,000), but perhaps Decemberists leader Colin Meloy can refresh the tradition with his sesquipedalian panache. Here are a few guesses at the stage patter you might hear on We All Raise Our Voices to the Air.

• “I want the guys to sing ‘Until a priory’ and the girls to sing ‘Took pity and hired me.’ Ready???”

• “When I say ‘N,’ you say ‘PR.’ NPR! NPR!”

• “Please say hello to our new guitar roadie, Mr. Peter Buck.”

• “This next song was a huge hit in Liechtenstein.”

• “We don’t usually play this song about the Battle of the Kentish Knock, but I had a bit too much Darjeeling tonight.”

• “Here’s a song I wrote in the ’90s. The 1690s!”

• “Now throw your hands in the air, and wave ’em like you’re at the Renaissance Faire!”

• “We’ve got tote bags at the merch table.”

• “This one goes out to all the foxy librarians who are here tonight. Male and female!”

• “Is cum omnes ante tempus?!”


Rob Tannenbaum is the co-author of the acclaimed I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. You can follow him on Twitter at @tannenbaumr. Photo by musicisentropy, via Flickr.